Overrated/Underrated: Adam Sandler’s surprising stand-up in ‘100% Fresh’ and the global sound of Maisha
Adam Sandler’s “100% Fresh” on Netflix: From a critical perspective, Sandler always doesn’t have the best track record at the movies or on Netflix (though “The Meyerowitz Stories” remains well worth your time). But he unexpectedly released one of silliest, sweetest comic specials of the year last month. A mix of Sandler’s cracked storytelling and an array of new song parodies and brief joke jingles, the special is cobbled from performances in locations ranging from theaters to a subway station, and the results show a side of Sandler that’s well removed from his many lucrative (and lesser) big-screen comedies. And it’s a good one.
Maisha’s “There Is a Place”: Hailing from what may be the most electric city for forward-looking jazz in 2018, this six-piece has joined a strong roster of energetic, boundary-pushing recordings to come out of London of late with a debut album of sprawling, spiritual jazz that recalls the free-flowing sound of the late ‘60s and ‘70s while continuing to push forward with globe-spanning rhythms and swirling melodies. Led by drummer Jake Long and featuring some rising stars that include saxophonist-flutist Nubya Garcia and guitarist Shirley Tetteh, Maisha has found a place that demands being heard.
“Private Life” (2018): Written and directed by Tamara Jenkins, whose lovely and poignant “The Savages” remains a gem, this feature about a couple of literary New Yorkers struggling with fertility doesn’t reach the same heights. Though its performances by Paul Giamatti and Kathryn Hahn are strong, there’s little reason provided for why this couple willingly endure the many personal and medical trials to have a child in the first place. While that’s probably the point as the film glances toward each character’s vague narcissism and blindness to the family they already have, it’s still unpleasant company for two hours.
Amazon’s home-base sweepstakes: If you’re an indie retailer or musician, you already have reason to resent this world-devouring company. Now, everyone outside of New York City or northern Virginia have axes to grind as well, at least if they were hoping for Jeff Bezos to bring jobs to their area as the retailer’s over-hyped search for “HQ2” will be split between two already dense areas. Worse than being a case of the job-rich getting richer is knowing the many communities — “winners” included — that debased themselves with tax incentives only to yield this familiar ending. If one of Amazon’s shows was this predictable, it would’ve been canceled.
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